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referral to Camhs (aspergers)

(15 Posts)
XandaPanda Fri 16-Nov-12 18:36:16

Took my son to see the Doctor today as I am concerned about some of his behaviour / traits.
I didn't think anything of how my son is until 2 separate people I know that work with children with Aspergers , They both picked up/noticed separate things that they say are main signs for aspergers and they both suggested that I should go to the doctors in regards to there concerns and to take a list of what my son likes/dislikes which I did and now my son has been referred to Camhs (never heard of them before)
and even though the doctor did not seem overly concerned he also didn't seem in the slightest bit interested.
How long will it take for an appointment & what is Camhs & do I need to do anything specific etc ...
So confused , I'm hoping you lovely Mnetters can put my mind at rest .
I know the referral is a good thing and would explain so much about my son (4 years old) , I just thought I was a bad parent , Sorry for rambling any advice/info would be great thanks

OP’s posts: |
BarbarianMum Fri 16-Nov-12 19:55:16

Hi Xanda

I'm sure you are not a bad parent (tbh, they don't come on here much). smile

I can't give you any advice myself, but if you don't get much response on here can I suggest you repost this in the 'Special needs:children' section here on Mumsnet? Lots of parents whose children have Aspergers post there, as well as others in your situation.


XandaPanda Fri 16-Nov-12 20:01:33


OP’s posts: |
Selks Fri 16-Nov-12 20:51:52

Hi I work in CAMHS so hopefully I can explain a bit smile

CAMHS stands for child and adolescent mental health services and it's the part of the NHS that provides a variety of services for children with mental health problems. In many areas CAMHS also provides a service for Autistic spectrum disorders (including Asperger's Syndrome), including diagnosis. CAMHS is a national service with teams in all regions. Different areas can vary a bit with what services they are able to provide and with waiting lists etc.

In CAMHS you have members of staff such as Mental Health Practitioners (who can be social workers or nurses usually), Clinical specialist nurses/practitioners, child psychologists, eating disorder specialists, primary mental health practitioners, and child psychiatrists. Often there will be therapists such as Cognitive Behavioural therapists or Family therapists.

What will probably happen is that you will receive a letter from CAMHS telling you whether they have accepted the referral or not (if not there may be a more appropriate service that you could be signposted to). If the referral is accepted you'll be invited to attend an initial assessment (though it might be called something different) of what the concerns/issues are. They may ask to speak to your child's school and request any copies of any assessments done by education psychologists etc if there are any. This is just to aid the gathering of information for assessment. From that assessment it will be discussed with you what they feel is the best course of action e.g. your child's name be put on list for specialist Autism assessment or if not appropriate for that various other options could be discussed.

CAMHS are normally pretty helpful if they can be and are usually more than happy for parents to ring them to ask on the progress of the referral, discuss any concerns they have or seek advice. Some CAMHS do have waiting lists sadly.

Hope that helps smile

XandaPanda Fri 16-Nov-12 21:48:05

Thanks selks very helpful x

OP’s posts: |
qwertylkjh Fri 16-Nov-12 21:57:37

For a different perspective on CAMHS. We had a nightmare experience with them that has left us all traumatized and nearly destroyed our whole family unit. It resulted in our daughter being even longer without a diagnosis for a serious medical problem that was causing her continuous pain. Luckily we are now no longer under CAMHS and a medical expert correctly diagnosed and treated my daughters illness. However we still lack trust in all so called professionals and we have needed so much help to get over it all.

CAMHS kept telling us that my daughters problem could not be medical as we had been referred to them and they let us believe they were assessing for ASD however they were actually recording child protection issues and wrote pages and pages of very twisted facts.

In hindsight they presumably couldnt tell us about the CP so had to let us think they were testing for ASD. My wife and I believe that CAMHS had to find a reason for our daughters problems and as they had been told by the hospital that it was not a medical problem they then had to find a reason and as our daughter did not have ASD they decided it must be the parenting. Once they had decided this they then evidenced everything to fit.

At the time it appeared deliberate because we had complained several times about their continual delays and cancellations. I would reschedule business trips to meet their appointments and then we would arrive for an appointment and they would be off sick or would reschedule. However the main reason was that they decided on the cause of the problem from the outset as shown by their very initial notes and then tried to make the evidence fit rather than keeping an open mind whilst they collected the facts. We realized that they did not want to help our daughter and were just focused on our parenting and we therefore became more challenging of them as we were desperate to help her and the situation deteriorated.

We have records of every visit and meeting and what was actually said is so different to what they said. It is just too scary to think what would have happened if we had not managed to get a correct diagnosis for our daughter who had been in pain for years possibly since birth without our knowing. The most disappointing thing about CAMHS is that there was no apology when we finally got the diagnosis and we are unsure if anything has been learnt from our case.

However this was just the experience of one unusual case at one branch and we have no knowledge of any other branches or cases. Good luck but tread with caution.

Selks Fri 16-Nov-12 22:02:21

Sorry to hear about your dreadful experience Querty. But as you rightly point out yours was an unusual experience and I'd hate that to put the OP off.

3b1g Fri 16-Nov-12 22:11:48

DS3 was referred by our GP to a paediatrician. The paediatrician then referred him to a centre specialising in children with neurodevelopmental conditions (9 month wait). The child psychiatrist interviewed us with a really long questionnaire about his traits and behaviour between his 4th and 5th birthdays. I'm not sure we came out with any sensible answers as he was nine years old at the time of the interview, and during the period of time she was asking about, I had two year old twins! While she was interviewing us, DS2 spent some time with the child psychologist. He was asked to draw some pictures and played some games about interpreting social scenarios. We then all went into the same room together and they gave us the diagnosis there and then.
I hope that whatever the outcome, you and your son get whatever support is most helpful for him.

3b1g Fri 16-Nov-12 22:12:50

I meant DS2, sorry. I call my children by each others' names in real life too.

wannabestressfree Fri 16-Nov-12 22:20:08

I found CAHMS a lifeline with helping with my son who has Aspergers and mental health problems and they continue to be........

morethanyoubargainfor Fri 16-Nov-12 22:26:27

I have to say my ds was referred to chams on the advice of the psychiatrist. We waited 5 months for an appointment, to be honest I wished we hadn't bothered. He was already diagnosed with Aspergers and everything was put down to that and the fact he has a chronic pain condition. Even when talked about him hearing voices and what the voices told him, and the horrific images he sees and has recurrent nightmares about we were told all perfectly normal for an aspies kid. Everything was due to the aspies. When it came to disclosing my mental health problems, due to the same chronic pain condition, I have anxiety, OCD and depression this gave them a further reason for my sons intrusive thoughts to. They actually said in the discharge letter that I was an over protective, over anxious parent!
He was discharged after one initial meeting, no more input required because he is a aspie child and I have anxiety and both my dh and I work in the mental health field so we apparently understand him and can cope with his MH diffciulties! We weren't impressed at all with the service. It seems that a lot of parents I have spoken to in my area have had the same treatment and have a equally low opinion of chams.

I hope it works out for you and I hope that I am another isolated case that received this attitude.

morethanyoubargainfor Fri 16-Nov-12 22:28:18

I am not trying to put of the op just give my expierence. I think it is helpful to have both good and bad expierenced in these kind of situations.

beautifulgirls Sat 17-Nov-12 19:42:40

Do come and post on the special needs (children) section of the board with lots of other parents who have been through this or are going through it. Lots of advice and support on there.

jenni2503 Tue 15-Jul-14 22:37:11

Hello folk. Please help, my son has all the signs of someone with aspergers. His behavior is becoming worse now he id getting older (now 8). it has caused severe tension and stress in my relationship with my husband, and have now separated. i have been waiting over 2 years for a school referral and 9 weeks for a gp referral for assessment. i have now been signed off work for 3 weeks (as i have no one to look after my children and Im extremely stressed). We are all walking on eggshells with my sons behavior (self, hubby and three other children). is there away to get help or fast track the referral route for assessment?

joshsdad06 Sat 24-Jan-15 23:36:50

Your post (qwertylkjh) describes to the letter our experience of camhs.
We are waiting for CDC full assessment.


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